Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Bellwether reaction: News UK, Kantar, DoubleVerify, Permutive Appsumer

Following the latest IPA Bellwether Report that found UK marketing budgets increased for the first time since the end of 2019 in the second quarter of 2021, NDA is getting reaction from across the industry.

Ben Walmsley, Commercial Director, Publishing, News UK:

“It is heartening to see marketing budgets increasing for the first time since 2019. Throughout the turbulence of the pandemic some advertisers cut budgets and focused on performance, whilst others took a bolder approach by striving to emotionally connect with audiences, either to show empathy or how their brand could offer practical help.  As the post-pandemic world takes shape, advertisers should take note of the positive impact of stronger emotional connections successfully forged over the last year when creating campaigns.

“Our research has shown that emotional context can increase advertising attention by up to 45% by understanding the emotional resonance of the content around which it sits. It is therefore not surprising that the power of emotion as a targeting mechanism is becoming ever-more important for advertisers. Critical to success will be the ability for marketers to understand the extent to which preferences, opinions and emotions have changed and the permanence of those changes.

“To support this News UK recently launched Nucleus, a first party data platform that offers unique insight on how audiences are consuming media and their changing lifestyle attitudes. In a rapidly evolving market, access to deep audience understanding will be essential to brands to communicate effectively in a privacy-first world that is profoundly different to that of March 2020.”

Nick Reid, Regional VP of Northern Europe, DoubleVerify

“With this quarter’s Bellwether Report anticipating 2021 and 2022 will record strong rates of growth in ad spend – predicting 7.5% and and 6.0% respectively as businesses recover to pre-pandemic levels of activity – it is clear that the industry is aiming towards recovery. Brands, agencies, and vendors must take this moment to reset and drive an improved ecosystem; one with clear baselines of media quality, accurate performance and relevant, privacy-friendly experiences.

Only by utilising data more efficiently, and collaboratively, can they create a more transparent ecosystem which informs smarter strategies, fuels accountability and offers greater value for all stakeholders. After all, if we get this next phase right, and harness the current momentum of digital transformation, we can put in place profound benefits for all parties; striving for a stronger, safer and more secure ad ecosystem for the consumer and the brands who look to inspire them.”

Louise Ainsworth, Executive Managing Director, EMEA at Kantar’s Media division:

 “A recent boost in consumer spending and improving economic forecasts have lifted the moods of advertisers and marketers according to the latest IPA Bellwether report.  As people head back to shops, restaurants and offices, businesses must carefully consider how and where they position themselves to make the most of rising confidence and capture spend from those with extra funds in their pockets after 18 months of restrictions.  

Understanding what makes people tick in a new and different world, as well as how the roles of traditional and digital media formats have changed during the pandemic is vital.  Competition to secure a slice of post-lockdown spend will be fierce, meaning it’s more important than ever to ensure increased advertising budgets are highly targeted and that campaigns achieve real cut through.”

Elizabeth Brennan, Head of Advertiser Strategy at Permutive:

“The latest IPA Bellwether report paints a positive picture of the recovery of the industry. It is extremely encouraging to see marketing budgets thriving again for the first time since 2019, with ad spend forecasts also set to improve throughout 2021. 

“With the recent updates to Apple’s privacy protections for iOS 15, coupled with third-party cookies being removed from Google Chrome by the end of 2023, it’s clear the protection of consumer privacy in digital advertising is gaining momentum. As we enter this new post-pandemic era, consumer privacy must remain at the forefront of advertiser’s minds.

Both advertisers and publishers must ensure they have a sustainable, privacy-safe solution that not only safeguards them from the tumultuous changes in the industry, but helps them take advantage of upcoming opportunities. For this to happen, adtech will need to take a new role in facilitating the direct relationships between media buyer and media owner. Publisher first party data is already becoming the key to the future of digital advertising.”

Shumel Lais, Founder and CEO, Appsumer:

“It’s welcoming to see ad spend and confidence growing in line with vaccine coverage. However, what’s clear is that budget isn’t coming back in all the same areas as before as consumer behaviour has accelerated towards online and mobile app purchases. Our research, for instance, has shown that lockdown caused budget growth across many app categories like fitness, gaming and food delivery.

This consumer behaviour has become embedded faster than anticipated and simultaneously, brands are having to adapt their models and their advertising strategies to reflect this. Consumer habits will not return to pre-Covid normality and as a result, the advertising mix will not either.

In addition, mobile app advertisers are also having to contend with iOS 14.5+ adoption that has reached critical mass in recent weeks. In fact, we’ve seen advertisers increasingly shift budgets from iOS to Android and this has been most notable amongst smaller brands. Moving forward, mobile app advertisers, no matter the size, should be looking to further diversify their media mix to limit exposure to market volatility. And only by getting the right measurement tools in place will they reap the rewards.”

Dominic Woolfe, CEO, Azerion UK:

“The IPA Bellwether report reflects the  optimism we have felt over the last few months with the lockdown restrictions slowly but surely lifting. The socio-economic impact of this quarter has been promising, as businesses begin to prepare for a strong economic recovery following the impacts of Covid-19. In light of the successful vaccination programme throughout the UK and the re-opening of the economy, it is great to see that the UK is now gearing itself back up for growth with the increase in marketing budgets and ad spend this quarter a strong indication of this. 

“However, if the industry is to meet the forecasts predicted for ad spend in 2022 brands must continue to work with partners that deliver meaningful outcomes. With the IPA Bellwether report playing on the edge of caution regarding new strains of the virus and how this may result in a brisk spell of consumer spending, brands will need to maintain a consistent level of communication with consumers in a creative and engaging way within brand safe environments.” 

This piece includes, among others, comments from clients of Bluestripe Communications, owned by Bluestripe Group, the owner of NDA.

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